01 April 2009

Women Photographers of the 30s & 40s

I, like so many others, find myself fascinated by the Farm Security Administration color photos from the 1930s and 40s. Before discovering the collection I’d never seen photos from that era that exhibited such vivid colors. I couldn’t help but wonder exactly how the photos came to be and who the photographers were behind the images.
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The Farm Security Administration (FSA) was a New Deal program designed to assist poor farmers during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. The photographs of the FSA Photograph Collection form an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944. Among the photographers assigned to the project were four women: Dorothea Lange, Marion Post Wolcott, Esther Bubley and Marjory Collins.

Dorothea Lange: She is probably the most well known of the group, and is responsible for one of the most well known images of the Great Depression, “Migrant Mother”.

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Marion Post Wolcott: She began studying photography during her time in Vienna where she witnessed first hand the rise of the Nazi party.

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Esther Bubley: In 1954 she became the first woman to win first place in the international division of a contest sponsored by Photography magazine. She received a trophy depicting a male photographer.

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Marjory Collins: She was involved with the Civil Rights movement in the US and founded an independent feminist publication.

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11 comments:

Diane said...

I'm so glad you shared this - it's terribly fascinating! The color photos Flickr set is really wonderful to look at and I'm taken about by the bold colors of an era that's I'm used to seeing in black and white.

I also love the photos and little bits about the four women photographers. I'll have to look up more information about them (I'm in the library right now anyway!)!

ZombieLace said...

I love those color photographs, they are amazing! The first time I saw them I couldn't stop staring... I almost didn't believe that colors were so vivid back then, every image I've seen before is so dark and dusty. The lady photographers look fabulous!

Q's Daydream said...

How interesting! Thanks :o)

Eyeliah @ stylesymmetry.com said...

Great post, thanks for sharing it! :)

Robin Dodd Photography said...

What a great post!!! Thanks!

jayne said...

intriguing post, thanks for informing us! and you're right the color are quite vibrant and amazing

Summer said...

Oh i didn't know this one.And i'm so glad you shared this to us..;D
And the color was really amazing.;D
Lovely post.

Pink Princess said...

There's a new book out on Dorothea Lange's works. Its called Daring to Look: Photographs and Reports from the Field. Its a great introduction to a great chronicler of those times!

Nonoy said...

It's nice to be here at your blog.And those photos are stunning.;D

Frances Baker said...

Wow thats so cool! I love these photos too, and the women photographers are so interesting. Thanks for that!

Jenny said...

This is a timely post. You should add the incredible photographer (and one of my favourites) Helen Levitt to your list. She just died, at age 95, last weekend. Her photos of kids in NY, especially, are funny and fun and moving and fantastic.